Dramatic pictures and drone footage shows smoke and flames as blaze tears through grassland
PUBLISHED: 16:20 01 July 2018 | UPDATED: 18:19 01 July 2018
These striking images taken by a Colchester photographer capture the extent of a huge grassland blaze which has torn through a shooting range in the town.
Bright orange flames and thick black smoke can be seen pouring over Middlewick Ranges, off Mersea Road, as fire crews work to put out the flames.
Approximately 40 firefighters from Colchester, Brightlingsea, Wivenhoe, Tiptree, Coggeshall, Manningtree and South Woodham Ferrers were called in to tackle the large blaze at 1.41pm, which is understood to have broken out in a nearby building and spread to grassland.
Representatives for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “There are reports of low level smoke around the Australian Estate area. Our firefighters are advising people to keep their doors and windows closed.
“Firefighters have reported that around seven hectares of field is affected by the fire. Crews are working to divide the ares into sections to prevent further spreading.”
Six fire engines, two off road vehicles and a water bowser are currently at the scene, with several crews attempting to put out the fire.
Witnesses living nearby reported seeing thick smoke in the area and ash blowing over into their gardens.
We will bring you updates on this developing news story as we receive more information from the emergency services.
The cause of the fire is not clear yet but news of the incident comes after chiefs warned of a risk of wildfires in the hot weather.
Experts revealed that June 2018 was the driest on record.
Yesterday, six fire crews were sent to reports of a blaze in Brandon Forest.
Elsewhere, a major incident was declared in Manchester yesterday following two huge blazes on Saddleworth Moor.
• More information to follow.
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